The M.A. in Modern and Contemporary Art and the Market has trained students to be effective art world professionals since 1998. This program prepares students for careers in the commercial and not-for-profit sectors of the art world through a focus on connoisseurship, art history and art market studies.
This interdisciplinary program provides an in-depth study of modern and contemporary art and the market from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day. Led by an expert faculty, this integrated M.A. program combines the study of art history with the role played by the art industry. It explores how the art market intersects with modern and contemporary art as artworks pass from artists to institutional and private collectors. The program emphasizes the development of connoisseurship through object-based learning in combination with the study of current art business practices and the market. You will study artworks first-hand at sites of production and exhibitions throughout New York City and beyond. Additionally, access to specialists and salerooms through our central location within Christie’s auction house enhances the program and provides an unparalleled learning opportunity.
The program is designed to offer networking opportunities while introducing you to transferable skills that are in demand in the current global art marketplace. Our access to a wide range of art
professionals, including alumni from the program, provides you with first-hand knowledge of the workings of the art world, and the expertise and contacts you need to become an art world professional.
An intensive program, it takes 15 months to complete and concludes with the writing of a thesis and a 45-day internship to help you launch and advance your professional career.
In preparation for careers in the art world, students will:
Our M.A. students participate in a study trip at the end of the spring term to a major city in the art world, such as Berlin, London, Venice or Paris. Field studies and lectures afford the opportunity to make connections in a broader sphere and enable you to keep pace with a fast-moving art world.
Who Should Apply?
Students from a wide variety of fields have successfully merged their prior backgrounds with the program, launching successful careers at auction houses, galleries, non- profits, art fairs and art advisories in the global art marketplace upon graduation for over twenty years.
For further information, please contact:
T +1 212 355 1501
Watch our short video about the Master's Program of Modern and Contemporary Art and the Market
This class provides you with an overview of the professions and institutions as well as the economic, legal and ethical contexts that shape and structure the art world. Guest speakers include a broad scope of art world practitioners who address aspects of the production, exhibition, and trade of art and other cultural artifacts. The seminar consists of lectures, discussion sessions, and a wide range of reading and research assignments designed to develop professional skills that are necessary to succeed in the art world.
The Economics of Art: The fall term provides an analysis of the economics, trade and valuation of artworks. The lectures and presentations explore art as a financial tool and investment to familiarize you with the process of valuation, including appraisal and insurance practices.
Art Law, Auction Business, and Collection Management: The winter term examines the legal and ethical issues of the art business and provides a detailed understanding of art auction and collection management practices. Lectures cover such topics as artist-dealer relations, intellectual property and copyright infringement, art crime, restitution and cultural heritage law. This term also offers a comprehensive overview of the auction business and of how art collections are built, maintained, and preserved.
Professional Practices in the Global Contemporary Art World: The spring term introduces you to diverse areas and professional fields of contemporary art by providing an in-depth study of topics that include emerging markets and curatorial practices; the management of contemporary art galleries, residency programs and not-for-profit organizations; the practice of art writing and market reportage, as well as the current state of e-commerce and online sales in the art world.
2 credits per term (6 credits total)
The goal of the course is to introduce you to major movements, artists and canonical works of art from 1850 to the present in order to develop or enhance a strong base of knowledge prior to entering a professional career in the art world. This lecture series is organized chronologically and runs through the entire academic year. While the fall and winter terms primarily survey the production of modern art in Europe and the United States, the spring term addresses contemporary art in an expanded global context. The course is team-taught by Christie’s Education faculty and scholars from other institutions including universities and major museums. Visits to The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art are an integral part of the curriculum.
From Realism to Cubism: The fall term begins with the rise of Realism in Paris in the mid-nineteenth century and continues with French Impressionism and simultaneous developments in the United States, England and Germany. The term concludes with German Expressionism and the invention of Cubism.
From the Historical Avant-Garde to the Birth of Pop Art in Europe: The winter term picks up with the study of major movements in the early twentieth century, including Russian Constructivism and Suprematism, De Stijl and Italian Futurism, and continues with artistic developments in Europe, the United States and Latin America until the period immediately after World War II.
From Pop Art to Global Contemporary Art: Beginning with American Pop Art, the spring term investigates artistic strategies of the 1960s and 70s including Minimalism and Conceptual art, video and installation, before turning to contemporary art produced in a global context.
2.5 credits per term (7.5 credits total)
This seminar develops essential connoisseurship skills through first-hand analysis of modern and contemporary art. Utilizing the Christie’s Education study collection, you will learn to identify and evaluate materials, techniques, and condition issues that pertain to different mediums. This knowledge is reinforced by frequent field studies throughout the city, where you engage with numerous art world professionals and examine art in various sites of production and display, including studios, foundries, workshops, galleries, museums, private collections, and conservation facilities. The seminar helps mold you into informed and responsible custodians of art objects you will likely encounter and handle in various professional roles and settings.
Painting and Sculpture: The foundational fall term examines the materials and methods of painting, as well as the shifting modes of sculptural production during the modern era. Practical engagement with the study collection begins, including learning a range of evaluation techniques and condition reporting.
Works on Paper: The winter term shifts focus to works on paper, a category that encompasses photography, printmaking, drawing, and collage. These varied processes are illuminated in the
classroom and demonstrated during field studies. You produce additional condition reports and closely examine works on paper on assignment in museum study rooms.
Contemporary Art in Unorthodox Media: Addressing the diversity of contemporary art production, the spring term examines object hood in the age of dematerialization, ephemerality, and post-studio fabrication, among other issues. You will consolidate your knowledge and skills in order to review contemporary art exhibitions. A term-long project involves scouting and evaluating the work and
promise of emerging artists.
3 credits per term (9 credits total)
This course follows the chronology of the Modern and Contemporary Art Survey. Its goal is to familiarize you with the institutions and the key players, which have played an essential role in shaping the art market since the 1850s. The Art Market Studies course considers institutions such as auctions houses, galleries and museums as part of a complex ecosystem. The goal of the course is to equip you to navigate the global art world, understanding the reality of today by looking back at the history of the market for modern and contemporary art.
You will learn to identify the trends in art markets since the late 1800s, and how the role of these various players has shifted over time. You will come to understand the development of the art market as an integrated global and transnational phenomenon. In this project-based course, you will develop your research skills by evaluating a wide range of primary and archival sources, focusing on the history of collecting, art dealing and the auction business.
An integral part of the course is the weekly field studies to the exhibition galleries at Christie’s, where we engage directly with world-leading fine and decorative art specialists. This provides a unique insight into the inner workings of an auction house and important art market issues, such as valuation, authenticity and evolving global collecting patterns. In addition, sale walkthroughs provide a valuable opportunity to experience object-based learning. You will also participate in handling sessions to develop connoisseurship skills and expand your visual vocabulary. The direct access to specialists and artworks will expand your learning experience, allowing for close contact with artworks and networking opportunities with art professionals.
The Birth of the Market for Modern Art, 1850– 1900: The fall term looks at the development of an independent market for modern art in Europe and the United States. You will learn about Paris at the end of the Salon system and London’s thriving Victorian pictures market, as well as the then-burgeoning art centers of Berlin, Munich and New York. You will investigate the mechanisms that allowed a new system to develop, such as the rise of a transnational gallery system and artist-run exhibition societies.
Modernism and the Market, 1900–1960: The winter term looks at the development of the market for Modernism and the relationship of avant-garde culture to collectors and institutions. Focusing on the newly created museums in New York in the 1930s and specifically on the role played by the Museum of Modern Art in the domestication of modern art for a wider public, the course investigates how art dealers continued to play an essential role in the introduction of new art. It also considers the connection between art and politics during the troubled times of the 1930s and 1940s in Europe and the United States. This term charts the shift of the global art world from Paris to New York.
The Art World Today, 1960 to the present: The spring term looks at the different players that make up the contemporary art world today. If we consider the global art world as a network of dependencies, the course maps the contemporary art ecosystem while understanding how it has developed historically since the mid-1850s. By the end of the term, you will be able to contextualize the evolving relationship between artists and dealers, and understand how the power of collectors and the emergence of the art fair and biennale phenomenon are essential markers of our times.
3 credits per term (9 credits total)
The goal of this three-part seminar is to provide a framework for interpreting art that will serve as a foundation for launching a career in the art world. Initial focus on methodologies is followed by an examination of recent critical perspectives. Assignments are geared to developing research strategies, persuasive writing and presentation skills. You will read and discuss primary and secondary texts and learn to locate and evaluate print and electronic resources.
The fall term surveys transformative moments in the evolution of art history to examine its interdisciplinary nature. Readings reflect successive approaches, examining how interpretation changes
over time. In the winter term, you will perform primary research in critical reception and analyze discourses on major works of modern art. Critical perspectives relevant to contemporary art are studied in preparation for spring term study.
Thesis Proposal Workshop: In the spring term, you will work closely with a faculty advisor to develop a detailed thesis proposal in preparation for the sustained independent research and writing you will undertake over the summer.
3 credits per fall and winter terms,
1.5 credits per spring term (7.5 credits total)
The thesis is the final independent project that allows you to select a topic in modern and contemporary art and use it as an opportunity to develop your own voice through researching and writing, utilizing approaches learned in coursework throughout the year. The thesis helps you meet your professional goals by demonstrating capability and an authoritative awareness in the field, showcasing writing skills and independent critical thought. Topics can incorporate connoisseurship, critical reception and issues in the history of the art market. Recent titles include:
Master’s students have full-time internships for 45 days in September, October and November after the completion of their coursework. Our students secure internships in a wide range of sites including Christie’s auction house, commercial galleries, not for- profit art institutions and art advisories. The 45-day internships are vital in providing access and networks and supplement the training
received through your coursework. We also select one qualified student each year to intern with the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy.
Applicants will be admitted who have submitted completed applications and all supporting documentation, as outlined in the admissions requirements, and who have, in the judgment of Christie’s Education, New York, demonstrated the necessary background and qualifications for the successful completion of the program.
Applicants will be admitted, who have submitted completed applications and all supporting documentation, as set forth in the admissions section, and who have, in the judgment of Christie’s Education New York, demonstrated the necessary background and qualifications for the successful completion of the program. Successful candidates will receive an acceptance letter and be required to secure their place in a program by paying a tuition deposit within a pre-determined time.
All materials must be sent in hard copy to the following address:
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 20th Floor,
New York, NY 10020
Applications are accepted beginning in the fall for the following academic year. There is a priority deadline of January 17, 2020. However, applications will be accepted after that date until the programs are full.
Applicants to the Christie’s Education M.A. programs must be proficient in English. Applicants whose native language is not English or who are graduates of non-English speaking colleges and universities must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is optional. Students are encouraged to submit GRE scores if they believe the scores are an accurate representation of their academic ability.
The TOEFL and GRE test takers must have their scores forwarded to Christie’s Education by Education Testing Services (ETS) which administers these exams. They must enter the Christie’s Education code 9394, on the TOEFL and GRE Score Report Request Form.
For information on these exams, contact ETS at +1 609 921 9000 or consult www.ets.org.
Tuition and fees cover most educational and administrative expenses, including but not limited to orientation programs, out of town field trips, cultural institutional visits, admittance to selected museums nationwide (most major New York City museums) and access to art work in the Christie’s Education Study Collection.
The library and media fee includes but is not limited to the access to electronic research resources, computer work stations, internet access, subscriptions to major art and art-related periodicals and a comprehensive collection of auction catalogues.
The student registration and services fee includes term registration, administrative costs while students are completing their coursework and lifetime membership to the Christie’s Education Alumni Association.
Due one month after acceptance
Fall Term Tuition Payment
Library and Media Fee
Student Registration and Services Fee
F-1 International Student Services Fee
Due August 10, 2020
Winter Term Tuition Payment
Due December 3, 2020
Spring Term Tuition Payment
Due March 4, 2021
Fall 2 Tuition Payment
Due August 10, 2021
Total program is 44 credits
$1,606 per credit
September 8 - 11, 2020
September 14 – November 13, 2020
Yom Kippur Observed
September 28, 2020
Fall Term Exam Week
November 16–20, 2020
January 4 – March 12, 2021
MLK Day Observed
January 18, 2021
President’s Day Break
February 15–19, 2021
Winter Term Exam Week
March 15–19, 2021
April 5 – June 4, 2021
Memorial Day Observed
May 31, 2021
Spring Term Exam Week
June 7–11, 2021
Dates to be announced
* All dates subject to change
One of my favorite aspects of the program was the specificity of the courses we took. Each and every class was geared towards learning how to directly apply themes taught in the classroom to the real world. The Art Law courses were especially interesting and practical, and having three terms with impressive professionals exponentially increased my understanding of complex legal concepts.
M.A. Art, Law and Business
New York, 2017-2018
I was lucky to work once a week within Christie’s Islamic Art Department where I learnt a lot from art specialists and art business experts. Through the study trips, I experienced the diversity of the international art fairs and it showed me how the art fair boom has radically changed the way the art market does business.
MSc Art, Law and Business